Tonight, sometime after midnight, I got into a conversation with a couple of students about tipping at Starbucks. (Confession: I don't typically tip at Starbucks - but then again, I don't typically pay with cash and it's hard to tip a portion of your debit card. I suppose I could clip off a small corner of my Bank of America card with my nailclippers that I always keep in my purse, and place the plastic in the jar; however, I don't the barsistas would find much value in or appreciation for my thoughtful act.)
But in this tipping conversation I asked, "What percentage of cumstomers do you think leave a tip?" One said probably 10%, and the other agreed that sounded about right - because, she insisted, that is about the same percentage amount of people that tip street performers.
She then explained the break down of the street performance audience, in a very factual sort of way. And so I asked, "How do you know this?" I thought perhaps she had conducted some research for some paper for some class, and was presenting the "data" from a nationwide street performance study conducted in New York, Santa Monica, and in Key West.
That wasn't the case. Instead, she explained, "Oh, because I've done a lot of street performing." She went on to tell me how she occaionally taps for money. And I told her that maybe I should try that too as an additional source of income to help pay off my student loans. (Hmmm... dance for money?)
Somehow the conversation transitioned from street performing to the television show So You Think You Can Dance. As it turns out this student had auditioned a couple of seasons ago and in doing so she got a "ticket to Vegas," where she continued on through many rounds of tryouts - and made it rather far in the competition.
She didn't make it to the top 20 this particular time around, but she's considering auditioning again in the future.
Because, she explained...
In Vegas, one of the co-producers insisted that the guys that are auditioning, even if they're gay, need to perform and act masculine on and for this show.
The same co-producer also insisted, that the women need to accentuate their feminity as much as possible by always being done up (make & such) and in the way they dress.
And I walked back to 34th Street pondering that fact that there is a television show where producers know that the gay life style doesn't "sell."